A pilot study of radon levels in certified passive house buildings

Barry McCarron, Xianhai Meng, Shane Colclough

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The international Passive House Standard delivers high thermal comfort based on the principles of excellent building fabric and balanced mechanical heat recovery ventilation. Considering that the typical person in industrial countries (such as the UK) spends ∼90% of their time indoors, there are surprisingly few academic studies on air quality in the home. Indoor air quality and the prevalence of overheating are attracting an increasing amount of research attention across Europe, but post occupancy monitoring of indoor radon concentrations is severely underrepresented, especially in Ireland and the UK. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas and known carcinogen that presents a potential risk to occupier health. This pilot study investigates measured radon levels in certified Passive House buildings in Northern Ireland and presents an overview of technical radon prevention design options for new builds and mitigation measures for existing buildings. Initial findings indicate that buildings built to the Passive House Standard correspond with reduced indoor radon gas concentrations.

Practical application: This Technical Note addresses an issue pertinent to the industry at this time. The growth of energy-efficient standards (such as Passive House) and common principles (such as increased airtightness levels and mechanical ventilation systems) has accelerated the need for research data on indoor radon concentrations. This research bridges the knowledge gap between the fields of indoor air quality (specifically radon), health, sustainability and the built environment.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 9 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers 2019.

Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Certified Passive House
  • EnerPHit
  • indoor air quality
  • radon


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